According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nurses will grow by 7% over the next year. The average salary of nurses is only expected to grow, reaching $75,300 annually.
The profession earns that pay rate because it is among the most important in the world. More than any other healthcare professional, nurses serve as the primary point of contact for the patient and their family, caring for the whole person.
With such a great responsibility placed upon them, those who want to enter the nursing field must spend time doing proper research to choose the school that will teach them the trade. Fortunately, the great state of Georgia has many options for future nurses.
Unfortunately, one may get overwhelmed with so many potential schools. One must consider several factors when deciding upon a nursing school, including location, faculty, and concentration. One of the best resources for making that decision is the rankings published by the highly respected outlet, U.S. News & World Report.
This article can also help you make your decision. Although this list is based on the order as presented by U.S. News (in the case of a tie, the editorial team at College Gazette judges the tiebreaker), we go further to provide a full description for each entry, complete with all the information you need to make your first steps toward a financially and personally rewarding career in nursing.
10. Valdosta State University College of Nursing and Health Sciences (Valdosta, GA)
As part of the School of Health Services, the heart of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University is the Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation. In addition to housing a fitness and wellness center that all VSU students can enjoy, the center also allows nursing students to gain hands-on learning.
The Center serves a vital role in the various degree tracks that one can take in VSS Nursing. For those pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing, VSS offers both a traditional pathway, designed for freshmen and sophomores coming from high school or community college, and the adult student pathway, for working adults who need some online classes to accommodate their schedules.
With these excellent resources, VSS gives future nurses everything they need to enter the field, no matter what experience and needs they currently have.
9. Middle Georgia State University Department of Nursing (Macon, GA)
Located in Macon George, Middle Georgia State University’s Department of Nursing is dedicated to delivering evidence-based education in a liberal arts environment. To that end, MGS Nursing features both a remarkably diverse student body and a diverse faculty, with 43% of teachers in an ethnic minority. This stat stems from the school’s commitment to providing quality education to as many students as possible.
To that end, MGS Nursing offers both a traditional BSN and an online-focused RN to BSN degree for those who want to study while already working in the field. Likewise, the school features online versions of its MA degree, as well as a two-year associate’s degree.
MGS Nursing’s focus on diverse education ties into its demand for academic excellence. The school has a relatively open 50% acceptance rate, but it also has high expectations for grades. ASN students have an average 3.08 GPA, while BSN students average 3.47.
8. Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing (Kennesaw, GA)
As part of the state-of-the-art WellStar College of Health and Human Services, the School of Nursing at Kennesaw State University is the most extensive such program in northern Georgia. The school strives to create academically disciplined and compassionate nurses who serve as leaders in their community. They achieve these goals with a program that features experienced faculty and numerous scholarship opportunities.
The KSU Nursing BSN degree has both traditional and accelerated tracks. In the former, students participate in in-class theory courses, eventually gaining hands-on practice in clinical roles. The accelerated program is designed for those who already hold degrees in other fields, allowing them to earn a BSN in four semesters.
These programs have earned KSU Nursing several high-profile recognitions. U.S. News & World Report puts the university among the top 75 most innovative schools in the nation and
BestOnlineColleges.com ranks it as the #2 best online college in Georgia.
7. Georgia Southern University School of Nursing (Statesboro, GA)
The School of Nursing at Georgia Southern University organizes itself around four primary paradigms: person, nursing, health, and environment. By foregrounding these paradigms, GSU Nursing calls upon its students to look at the relationship between the individual patient and the person, recognizing that their environment affects their health. With these principles in mind, GSU directs future nurses to use critical thinking, ethical principles, and technological advances to communicate and care for the whole humanity of their patients.
In addition, GSU Nursing offers students two study abroad opportunities. The Nursing and Service Learning in Costa Rica program sends students to the country for two weeks to employ theoretical techniques in a real-world scenario. For the Healthcare Study Abroad Program, students spend 11 days getting to know the country’s program to broaden their understanding of the profession.
6. Clayton State University School of Nursing (Morrow, GA)
Since its founding in 1969, the School of Nursing at Clayton State University has improved diversity within the healthcare field. This goal involves numerous Nursing Workforce Diversity grants, study abroad programs to Haiti and Guadalajara, and a partnership with Daejeon Health Sciences University in Korea.
CSU Nursing’s commitment to diversity is part of its larger mission to create fully developed and engaged healthcare professionals. As stated in the school philosophy statement, CSU Nursing puts its faculty and resources toward creating critical thinkers with mastery of skills such as comprehensive care, theory-based practice, research, and communication.
Goals and philosophies are only as good as the results they produce, and CSU Nursing boasts impressive credentials to prove their worth. 87.25% of students in the ADN program pass the NCLEX their first time, while 87.86% of students in the BSN program pass the NCLEZ their first time.
5. Brenau University Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing (Atlanta, GA)
The Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing at Brenau University has always worked to bring new learners into nursing. To achieve this goal, they embarked on their latest effort by launching an Entry Level Master of Science program in May 2021. Based on a combination of online and face-to-face classes, along with 600 hours of clinical experience, the program allows students to earn a master’s degree in only five semesters.
The Entry Level Master of Science program is just the latest in a long line of innovations and degrees. Grindle provides three undergraduate degrees, including a BS in health science with a nursing concentration. Graduate students have seven different paths to choose from, as well as the entry-level program.
In each of these tracks, students have access to not only a cadre of accomplished faculty but also a first-rate simulation lab.
4. Mercer University College of Nursing (Atlanta, GA)
In 1901, a group of ministers established the Tabernacle Infirmary and Training School for Christian Nurses, using a five-room cottage in downtown Atlanta as their campus. Over the next 120 years, the school has gone through numerous changes, eventually becoming the College of Nursing at Mercer University. But in every form, Mercer Nursing remains dedicated to healing the needy and the sick.
Mercer Nursing took its latest steps toward that goal by establishing the Diversity in Nursing Scholarship to help talented nurses from underprivileged communities. All students coming into Mercer Nursing participate in a program that values excellence, Christian compassion, social responsibility, and other fundamental values.
As these values suggest, Mercer Nursing works to bring out the best in their students. As they gain the skills and experience they’ll bring into their future careers, students at Mercer also develop the personal qualities that make them excellent caretakers, ready to improve the wellness of the whole patient.
3. Georgia State University Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions (Atlanta, GA)
Every school on this list features excellent faculty and unique resources to train future nurses. But the Byrdine F. Lewis School at Georgia State University adds to these learning tools a commitment to research. Lewis prides itself on advances such as the Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis (SMRA) Initiative, which makes contextual work and studies available to clinicians, students, and policymakers.
These research goals do not distract from Lewis’s ability to teach. On the contrary, they enhance it. The effectiveness of the school’s approach is demonstrated by statistics from their students. Amazingly, 100% of Lewis students have passed the NCLEX, and 97.5% passed the Advanced Practice Nurse registration exam.
As these statistics indicate, Lewis gives their students everything they need to enter the profession. Not only do they have the knowledge and soft skills necessary in a good nurse, but Lewis students also have the critical thinking skills to find new treatments.
2. Augusta University College of Nursing (Augusta, GA)
As part of the historic Augusta University, the college of nursing emphasizes the same values as its host institution. The teaching of medical skills comes from the perspective of collegiality, compassion, excellence, inclusivity, integrity, and leadership.
No matter if you’re a high school student looking to start your nursing mission, a graduate with a degree in a different field, or a registered nurse, Augusta Nursing has options for you. Students on all of these tracks will be trained by an award-winning faculty with years of experience in the field.
Additionally, they will all gain hands-on training in their new Nurse-Managed Health Center. This state-of-the-art building allows students to gain real-world experience under the supervision of their faculty mentors. Furthermore, the Nurse-Managed Health Center allows Augusta Nursing to participate in innovative research projects, such as a recent initiative to study age-related diseases.
1. Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (Druid Hills, GA)
Not only is Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing the best nursing school in the state of Georgia, it’s one of the best in the United States. U.S. News & World Report places the school’s Doctor of Nursing program #8 in the nation and its Master of Nursing program #2.
Working in concert with its nationally recognized parent school, Emory Med boasts a faculty that includes some finest of the experts in the medical field. These faculty members teach their craft with an excellent simulation center and several labs, which allow nurses to practice a variety of scenarios.
Unsurprisingly, this school with such a stellar reputation has a competitive acceptance rate. Only 63% of those who apply to the school receive offers of admission. Yet those who do enroll can avail themselves of remarkable resources, driven by the school’s $12.8 million research endowment.